Gulfport man lost his life over an iPhone and $2,300 in cash, police say

  • In US
  • 2022-08-12 13:00:00Z
  • By Biloxi Sun Herald

A Gulfport man lost his life over an iPhone 13 mini and $2,300 in cash, according to court documents.

Erick Tyrie Hunt, 25, of Jackson, is being held on a $1.5 million bond on charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery in the June 27 shooting death of Anthony Lavern Oatis Jr., 30, of Gulfport.

In addition, Eric Jamorian Chopin, now 16, of Moss Point, was arrested on a charge of armed robbery in the same incident. Chopin is charged as an adult in the crime.

Gulfport police began the investigation after responding to a report of a single-vehicle accident around C Avenue and 32nd Street at 6:55 p.m. the night of the killing.

When police arrived, they found Oatis dead in the driver's seat of a brown 2000 Buick Lesabre.

Police interviewed witnesses and determined Hunt, Chopin, and Oatis got in an argument before Chopin and Hunt allegedly pulled out guns and demanded items from Oatis and a person with him at the time.

Hunt allegedly fired the fatal shot before he and Chopin took off in a white Dodge Challenger bearing a temporary dealership tag on the car.

Two days later, on June 29, Gulfport police Detective Bryan Fox said, Jackson police officers stopped the Dodge Challenger, with one occupant fleeing on foot and the other, later identified as Hunt, taking off in the car.

After police obtained Hunt's phone number from a witness, they got a warrant on the phone number and learned Hunt had called an inmate at the Harrison County jail, where he discussed his alleged involvement in the crime.

Gulfport police got another court order to track the location of Hunt's phone and found him at a home in Jackson.

Fox said that Gulfport police detectives and agents with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics arrested Hunt at the Jackson home.

During a subsequent police interview, the detective said Hunt admitted firing the fatal shot at Oatis.

Since the shooting, a Harrison County justice court judge has determined there is enough evidence in the cases to bind them over to a Harrison County grand jury for indictments.

According to his obituary, Oatis, a father of two, was engaged at the time of his death. He had attended North Gulfport Middle School and was known by those who loved him as a humble person who could always make someone smile.


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